Most people have a bad habit or two they’d like to break, but often, they don’t actually realize the negative effects their habits have on their bodies and well-being. Your teeth can be subjected to bad behavior, which can come from years and years of doing things that have just become a normal part of life. But having habits for a long time doesn’t negate their negative effects. Let’s look at some common bad habits that affect the health of teeth (and what you can do if these habits are affecting you).
People who have a habit of chewing ice, popcorn kernals, pits from fruits, or other foods that aren’t intended to come into contact with tooth enamel can cause microscopic cracks in their teeth.
If you’re a crucher, switch to something that’s healthier to munch on, like baby carrots or celery with peanut butter.
#2. Using Teeth as Tools
Not being able to open certain packages or get the tags out of clothing can immediately send some people to a place where they think their teeth are the best tools for the job.
If this is you, stop, step back for a moment, and look for a tool that’s actually intended to open, cut, or bend the item you’re working with. Using your teeth as tools puts unnecessary pressure on them, which can weaken—and even chip—them.
#3. Grinding Your Teeth
Stress, anxiety, and other factors can cause people to grind their teeth, often when they have no idea they’re doing so, such as when they’re sleeping. Grinding can wear teeth down and make them more vulnerable to other issues as the enamel disappears. It can also cause jaw pain and discomfort while chewing.
Your dentist can create a custom-made mouth guard that helps your jaw relax while you’re sleeping. These are better than store-bought options because they’re designed to fit your unique mouth.
If you notice yourself tensing up in the jaw area during the day, try putting your tongue between your top and bottom teeth to train your jaw muscles to relax.
#4. Not Brushing or Flossing Regularly Enough
This is almost the un-habit. Not brushing or flossing often enough, or not doing so properly, can be just as detrimental as any bad habit you do to your teeth.
It’s important to brush and floss properly, and do so at least twice a day. You also need to check in with your dentist at least twice a year for regular cleanings.
At Retter Dental Center, we’ve helped patients overcome a variety of obstacles relating to bad habits. If you need help kicking routines that are rough on your enamel, schedule an initial consultation with our team today!